First-five James Marshall has been named to start for the Hurricanes against the Chiefs in Wellington on Saturday night after overcoming soreness in his knee.

With Beauden Barrett (knee) on the shelf for the next two weeks, Marshall is a key figure in the Hurricanes and he was sent for a scan on Monday to examine his knee after he took a knock during last weekend's win over the Sharks.

It's understood that Marshall hasn't trained this week as he recovers - the scans came back clear - but he has been deemed fit enough to play this weekend, leaving youngster Otere Black in the reserves as backup.

This Saturday's match marks the 50th game in the midfield for veteran pair Conrad Smith and Ma'a Nonu.


Nonu and Smith first combined against the Force in New Plymouth in 2006. They were the 22nd midfield combination to take the field for the Hurricanes, and there have been a further 21 different combinations since. The next most-capped pairing for the Hurricanes was Alama Ieremia and Jason O'Halloran, who had 28 starts together.

Reserve prop Jeffery Toomaga-Allen will mark his 50th game for the franchise if he gets on the field this weekend.

After sitting out last week, halfback TJ Perenara and wing Julian Savea return to a Hurricanes side that will be keen to extend their 10-point lead over the Chiefs at the top of the New Zealand conference.

Hurricanes: Nehe Milner-Skudder, Cory Jane, Conrad Smith (c), Ma'a Nonu, Julian Savea, James Marshall, TJ Perenara, Victor Vito, Ardie Savea, Brad Shields, James Broadhurst, Jeremy Thrush, Ben Franks, Motu Matu'u, Reggie Goodes. Reserves: Dane Coles, Chris Eves, Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, Mark Abbott/Callum Gibbins, Blade Thomson, Chris Smylie, Otere Black, Rey Lee-Lo